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There is an urgent need for help at Santa Barbara Co. Animal shelters

Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 21, 2023

It’s a plea for help.

“We're at full capacity. We literally have no kennels open or available," said Santa Maria shelter clinic supervisor, Nikki Ruhl.

 The many furry faces at the shelter need forever homes.

“Just in March alone, we took in 419 animals, which was almost double what we took in last year," added Ruhl.

The shelter says they have seen a 58% increase in animals coming through since January. Ruhl told KSBY it's a problem they are seeing statewide.

“We don't know why we're seeing a ton more strays than we've ever seen before and a lot of times people are not coming in to pick up their animals," said Ruhl.

There are currently 165 animals under the department's care, 23 of which were brought to them this past weekend, but there is a way to help even if adoption isn’t an option.

“You can do a day foster. You can take a dog out to just spend the night at your house. You can take a dog out just for a walk. I mean, it doesn't have to be a major commitment, and with any fostering that we do, we supply everything," explained Ruhl.

Cristal Rodriguez has been a volunteer at the shelter for 12 years helping in any way she can. On Friday she got five new kittens to join her family…. temporarily at least.

“It’s rewarding and challenging because it's fun seeing them grow and then of course, they're so cute. I mean, like, it's just fun to play with them and you know that you're providing a safe place for them and they're going to find a home. The challenging part is letting go of them because you're really attached to them and you really bond with them," said Rodriguez.

Individuals interested in becoming volunteers can call the shelter, go online, or visit in person.

“If you can just save one or help one, then you're doing something," added Rodriguez.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services is waiving all adoption fees starting Friday, April 21st until the end of the month.